Page MenuHomePhabricator

Enable MoodBar on en.wikipedia.org
Closed, DeclinedPublic

Description

In January 2015, it was requested on WP:VPR that MoodBar be enabled on the English Wikipedia. The proposal had 11 in favour (if you include the nominator), and two against.

Thus, please enable this extension.

The extension was disabled in February 2013, apparently without public consultation or documentation of rationale except for a brief note by Brandon on WP:VPT, which was quoted in the March signpost. If there is some reason for leaving it disabled, known to the relevant engineers, then please document it here or provide a link.

Event Timeline

tstarling raised the priority of this task from to Needs Triage.
tstarling updated the task description. (Show Details)
tstarling added a subscriber: tstarling.

Doesn't this show on all articles? Can we really accept a group of 13 people making this decision for the entire English Wikipedia?

I thought MoodBar was deprecated. It's only enabled on two wikis and Incubator (and also the Swedish chapter site, oddly enough)

@Jorm wrote:

As an experiment, Moodbar was a fair success but we have come to the conclusion that it will require a fair chunk of development work (on the Feedback Dashboard side) to make it fully usable as a mechanism for new user engagement.

What did this refer to exactly? Has the development work happened?

Unsubscribing myself, just FYI.

Is MoodBar considered actively maintained? https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MoodBar does not tell me.
Wondering if there are resources to maintain it (e.g. developing proper I18N support) and active commitment.

For historical reasons I link to T46688.

Doesn't this show on all articles? Can we really accept a group of 13 people making this decision for the entire English Wikipedia?

If that is really the only blocker then we can easily open an RFC. But note that it wasn't necessary for 13 community members to be consulted before the initial deployment, that was a WMF decision. It could be a WMF decision this time as well.

In T88954#1024096, @TTO wrote:

I thought MoodBar was deprecated. It's only enabled on two wikis and Incubator (and also the Swedish chapter site, oddly enough)

I think it is fair to say that it has been "deprecated" in the plain English sense of the term, i.e. people have said nasty things about it. That doesn't make it undeployable.

@Jorm wrote:

As an experiment, Moodbar was a fair success but we have come to the conclusion that it will require a fair chunk of development work (on the Feedback Dashboard side) to make it fully usable as a mechanism for new user engagement.

What did this refer to exactly? Has the development work happened?

These comments were made prior to the study by Ciampaglia and Taraborelli, which demonstrated that the feature was useful in the state in which was deployed between 2011 and 2013. It was this study that motivated the on-wiki discussion. The study provides evidence that MoodBar is fully usable as a mechanism for new user engagement as it is.

tstarling removed a subscriber: Jorm.

(Sorry Jorm, I didn't realise adding a subscriber is automatic when you highlight someone.)

Okay, honestly, I don't work for the Foundation anymore so I don't feel like I'm the person to talk to about this.

I wouldn't dare deploy Moodbar and the Feedback dashboard in their current incarnation. The Dashboard requires significant work to make it viable, including but not limited to vital services such as "providing ways to oversight comments provided through Moodbar". It's missing some really, really basic security features. It was an experiment and was never intended to be anything but.

Anyways, that's all the input I've got. I'm going to unsubscribe from this again.

In T88954#1026281, Jorm wrote:

The Dashboard requires significant work to make it viable, including but not limited to vital services such as "providing ways to oversight comments provided through Moodbar".

Added blocker. It looks like a small project, to me.

It was an experiment and was never intended to be anything but.

It was a successful experiment. The results indicate that it should be permanently deployed. We should be happy about such results.

I am happy about those results, no doubt.

I'm a bit more skeptical about the size of the project, since I'm certain that people will want to re-design everything, and since this is very, very editor focused, I doubt that anyone will really want to work on it or spend the time required to do research about how it was being used or how it should be used.

If I understand correctly...

There are no spare resources (developer time) to allocate to this extension - to fixing old bugs, or to implementing new features.
The current extension is very simple, sending all feedback to a central dashboard, e.g. https://test.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:FeedbackDashboard , without a link to where the editor was (what page they were looking at when they gave the feedback).

If there was WMF interest in turning it back on, then there would need to be clarity on how much time any developers would be able to spend on it, and on how many feature improvements would be considered.
There would need to be prioritization given to any analytics needs (if any).
There would also need to be an update of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:New_editor_feedback and possibly https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MoodBar
There would also probably need to be a more thorough community RfC:

  1. because of how large the UI is, and that it is displayed to all editors until manually dismissed via the link in the collapsed "What is this?" section.
  2. because the current-design centralizes all feedback, we would need sufficient (?) volunteers to be ready and willing to respond at the central location.

Sidenote: I believe the general concept, will be both possible and better to achieve with Flow, once that is on a majority of pages (at any given wiki), via a modal dialogue, which could publish the new topic to the talkpage of whatever the editor is currently looking at, and could optionally be tagged for further triage by a helpdesk or villagepump or i18n expert, etc.

If people want to send 140-character messages about our site and its contents into the ether, that sounds like a perfect use of Twitter. Sending a tweet to @wikipedia is functionally equivalent to submitting feedback via MoodBar, except we don't then accept ongoing costs such as code maintenance or patrolling comments.

I don't see what the English Wikipedia stands to gain by re-enabling MoodBar. Reading through https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MoodBar and related documentation, it's unclear what problem(s) the English Wikipedia is facing that would be mitigated by re-enabling this extension.

Broadly, I don't think we need additional feedback about the difficulties that new editors face, which seems to have been MoodBar's raison d'être. We have done and continue to do extensive user research, we've clearly identified the major pain points that new (and experienced) editors encounter (e.g., a lack of a visual editor), and we're doing some work to alleviate those hurdles. I'd like to continue focusing on solving defined problems that make it more difficult to edit Wikipedia.

I personally find MoodBar's design amateurish and grating. I also think the project is emblematic of a poorly prioritized allocation of resources.

@MZMcBride, the feature isn't only a feedback tool, it also enables others to respond to the feedback. It's the responses by experienced users which aid new user retention, according to the paper.

MoodBar is also still enabled in Dutch Wikipedia, French Wikisource and Wikimedia Incubator.

My recommendation would be to prepare for disabling it in these wikis, and to file separate tickets for functionality which will make Flow more useful for newcomer socialization. Flow is already being experimentally used in French Wikipedia's Teahouse equivalent, and is under discussion for use in English Wikipedia's Co-Op experiment, both projects focused on newcomer support and socialization.

The reasons include:

  • MoodBar relies on hacks to ease talk page interactions. This includes a "mark as helpful" feature for talk pages rendered using JS looking for a <span> inserted into a talk page markup. (The actual extension which does this, MarkAsHelpful, has incidentally been disabled since January.) It also includes a custom override of the default email that gets sent when you have a talk page message. These hacks need to be maintained, while Flow is built as a proper messaging platform from the get-go.
  • Even with these hacks, the newcomer experience is still not great. You get helped, but the mechanisms you have for engaging in an ongoing conversation with a prospective mentor are very limited. Whether you believe talk pages are the best thing since sliced bread or not, all user studies show that new users struggle a great deal with them, so throwing new users straight into the user talk pool isn't especially awesome.
  • MoodBar predates Echo, and therefore does not integrate nicely with the standard notification system.
  • MoodBar's UI is indeed aged, and it is not using the libraries developed by the frontend standards group, nor the styles developed by the UX team. This makes it stand out in the overall interface, means it's harder to port it to mobile, and means the front-end code will ultimately need to be re-implemented. It's a pretty prominent feature of the UI too, since every new user gets it.

One needn't be cynical about an effort which showed some promise and revealed useful data but which should ultimately be replaced with a more mature approach to the same problem.

@MZMcBride, the feature isn't only a feedback tool, it also enables others to respond to the feedback. It's the responses by experienced users which aid new user retention, according to the paper.

Thank you for clarifying. (I read this discussion and the wiki discussion and the mediawiki.org docs, but haven't read the research paper in question. Only so many hours in the day. :-)

I pretty much entirely agree with your post. I get a sense that Flow is isolated right now in some ways and I think having more people poke at it would be great.

Technical13 added a subscriber: Technical13.

Now that it looks like Flow may have just been another experiment that may or may not take a great deal more time to complete if it gets completed at all, I'm re-opening this ticket in a stalled state pending a new RfC on enwp as to whether or not this is wanted.

Technical13 triaged this task as Lowest priority.

@Technical13: Seeing T88954#1038889 I don't fully understand why you reopened this. Any references for your "Now that it looks like" statement in the previous comment? Could you please elaborate?

What are you talking about, "Flow is just another experiment"? And what does Flow have to do with Moodbar at all? (nothing, I tell you.)

I don't know what Technical 13 might have been thinking of, but there is a rumor that Flow is being cancelled. The basis of the rumor is that Lila once said that Flow's then-current state was incomplete and the exact direction has not been finalized. The fact that an unfinished software product is not yet finished is a tautology, but this brief, informal comment has been twisted into a claim that Lila hates Flow and will be announcing its cancellation any day now.

That makes no sense whatsoever.

DannyH added a subscriber: DannyH.

Lila did make a comment like that on one of her talk pages a few months ago, but jumping from that to "Flow is cancelled" is not accurate. That comment was an offhand way of summing up a discussion that we'd had a couple weeks earlier about the use cases that Flow currently does and does not support.

Flow is in active development, with four developers working full-time on it. It will be a while until it's complete, but we're rolling out on more pages on more wikis all the time. I'd be happy to talk to anyone who has questions or suggestions about the feature or the development process.

Also, Flow doesn't really have anything to do with MoodBar. :)

Flow has something to do with Moodbar because Flow is presented as an alternative to Moodbar in the comments above by Quiddity and Eloquence which led to this request being closed.

"I believe the general concept, will be both possible and better to achieve with Flow"

"MoodBar is also still enabled in Dutch Wikipedia, French Wikisource and Wikimedia Incubator. My recommendation would be to prepare for disabling it in these wikis, and to file separate tickets for functionality which will make Flow more useful for newcomer socialization."

Flow has something to do with Moodbar because Flow is presented as an alternative to Moodbar in the comments above by Quiddity and Eloquence

Which is why I propose that it be re-enabled because if it is suppose to be superseded by Flow, it should at least remain enabled until Flow is ready to be rolled out full scale. It doesn't make sense to leave a gap with nothing (which is actually setting up Flow (which I've always supported despite the general hesitation by the enwp community) to be rejected by communities as too big of a jump all at once).

which led to this request being closed.

Which yet again indicates that MoodBar should be reenabled until there is something better that has been accepted by the communities and rolled out full scale (we don't want any more media-viewer/visualEditor debacles).

"I believe the general concept, will be both possible and better to achieve with Flow"

"MoodBar is also still enabled in Dutch Wikipedia, French Wikisource and Wikimedia Incubator. My recommendation would be to prepare for disabling it in these wikis, and to file separate tickets for functionality which will make Flow more useful for newcomer socialization."

Has the replacement on those wikis been rolled out full scale yet or is it still in pre-alpha testing phase? It doesn't make sense to take away something people like and leave them with nothing for a couple years and then introduce this new all encompassing communication tool that communities might reject for a multitude of reasons from lack of the ability to personalize their signatures and/or archives to who knows what. I'm sure there will be objections for a bunch of reasons and then is the real test to see if those concerns can be addressed or if they will be ignored.